The Thomson High School team made the second cut in the NJROTC Academic Bowl recently. Six members of the academic team competed against 224 other teams from around the state and made the top 120 for the next round, which will be in February.
"I couldn't believe it at first, because there was such a great number of people doing it. But, that's what makes it a good thing for us," sophomore Wykell Brown said.
The other members of the team are freshmen Betty Jones, Carly Ogle and Marshall Emory and juniors Jeremy Randall and Amanda Newsome.
The competition consisted of an online test of Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps questions, College Board test questions and current events questions.
"The current events were the hardest because they showed news footage from all over the world and they were actually from a few months ago," Carly said. "And it was hard because we were timed."
"The history and lit questions were really easy, because they were just like some we do in Ms. Hitt's lit class. So, that made it easier," Wykell said.
NJROTC teacher Gunnery Sgt. Larry Dunn said the students were part of the NJROTC academic team that competes throughout the year, as does the athletic and drill teams. He and Commander Keith Ullman selected students who were doing well academically and who were dedicated to the JROTC program.
"We looked at all their strengths to combine a team that had someone who was good in each subject, and then we tried to throw in one common sense person," Gunnery Sgt. Dunn said. "But, I won't say which one that is," he added with a laugh.
Having members with different strengths brought out a mixture of emotions within the team.
"I just didn't pay attention to the math problems, because math is not my strong point," Carly said. "I am good in science."
Their approach apparently worked, and they'll take more online tests in February. The teams who score in the top 50 percent will advance to Level III of the competition in March.
To prepare for the next level, Jeremy said he is studying vocabulary words and Wykell is "going back to the basics of math." Gunnery Sgt. Dunn said the students will practice together by taking online Scholastic Aptitude Test prep questions and NJROTC practice tests.